Elevated hemidiaphragm: Elevation of half of the diaphragm, the muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdomen and that serves as the main muscle of respiration. The elevation of a hemidiaphragm is a significant sign of a problem.
That problem may lie below, within or above the diaphragm:
Below the diaphragm — In the abdomen there may be a cyst, an infection or abscess (filled with pus), hematoma (collection of blood), a tumor, or abdominal surgery.
In the diaphragm — The hemidiaphragm may be paralyzed or lax because of damage to the phrenic nerve (that controls the diaphragm) or infiltration of the diaphragm by lung cancer or another tumor.
Above the chest — In the chest there may be atelectasis (lung collapse), lung fibrosis, painful pleurisy, pulmonary embolus, or a rib fracture.
An elevated hemidiaphragm may be suspected on the physical examination and confirmed on an X-ray or CT of the chest or upper abdomen. It is also called a raised hemidiaphragm.
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